May 16, 2019

Beermen now assured of special place in PBA annals

As they kept their dynasty, the San Miguel Beermen carved history and made a legacy that could stand a test of time.

For no team had come close to matching what the Beermen have achieved - five straight title runs in the league's most prestigious tournament.

The Crispa Redmanizers had their all-Filipino four-peat but finished outside the Top Three in their chase for a fifth crown in 1984.

In completing their historic "drive for five," the Beermen whooped it up in celebrating a feat that would surely be emulated and looked up to by generations in years to come.

"It's about the legacy," said Chris Ross, soaked in water poured by teammates in their dugout moments after the 72-71 cliff-hanger that foiled the challenge of the Magnolia Hotshots Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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"It's really the legacy that's not done in one day. It entailed a lot of hard work, patience and dedication. And it's amazing," said Marcio Lassiter.

Fending off a great, great resistance by the Hotshots made the feat more meaningful for the Beermen.

"Dapat talagang i-commend ang Magnolia. They deserved a credit pinahirapan nila kami ng husto. Pero pinakita namin sa huli what stuffs we are made off," said June Mar Fajardo, copping a personal milestone serving as cherry to their championship.

The 6-foot-10 Cebuano gentle giant collected a league all-time high of 31 rebounds that went with 17 points in the deciding Game Seven, and he bagged the Finals MVP award that went with his Best Player of the Conference accolade.

And being a young crew, Fajardo and his teammates are tipped to contend for championships for more years to come.

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Just imagine a lineup with All-Star materials in Fajardo, Ross, Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, Christian Standhardinger and Terrence Romeo. Add super role players in Kelly Nabong, Ronald Tubid, Von Pessumal and Christian Zamar.

"Super thankful ako kay Boss RSA (SMC president Ramon Ang) at kay Boss Al (SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua), ginawan nila ng paraan na masama ako sa team na ito. At eto na, may championship na ako," said Romeo, a super talent with a number of individual awards won except the championship that he finally achieved only on his transfer to SMB.

He's retiring with his breakthrough championship?

"Hindi, biro lang yon. Susuklian ko yung trust nila Boss RSA at Boss Al sa akin. Tutulungan ko ang team na manalo pa ng championship," said Romeo.

With old champion import Charles Rhodes in tow, the Beermen chase another title in the Commissioner's Cup that will start right away Sunday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

For the Beermen, the goal is to regain the crown they lost to the Barangay Ginebra Kings last year.(SB)